Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Violence: FCTA shuts down Dutse market

The Federal Capital Territory Administration has shut down the popular Oloye Olajumoke Modern Market at the Dutsen-Alhaji area in Bwari area council, following the recent violence that broke out in the area.

Already, 25 suspects believed to have been involved in the fracas that broke out between some traders and officials of environmental department of the council have been arrested and paraded by the police.

Trouble started when some officials of the environmental department of Bwari area council and the Abuja Environmental Protection Board, who were involved in the cleaning exercise and removal of illegal structures and attachments in the market commenced work.

Speaking with newsmen after inspecting the closed market, chairman of the Ministerial Task Team on Traffic Management in the FCT, Mr. Ikharo Attah, explained that during the cleaning exercise, some persons got angry and attacked the environmental officials and burnt down their office outlet in the area.

Attah revealed that based on the incident, the FCT minister Mal. Muhammad Bello, in collaboration with the chairman of Bwari area council, Hon John Gabaya, have endorsed the immediate closure of the market until further notice.

He stated that the market would remain closed until the authorities are satisfied that the market is safe for traders and customers, adding that a fact-finding committee would be set up to unravel the circumstances surrounding the incident.

The task team chairman however added that traders had been given concession to relocate to the Army Post-Service Housing Estate Market for the time being.

“We have told the traders to go to the market to trade in the informal sector. The market will be reopened after the AEPB office is restored. The market can’t operate without environmental officers on the ground.

“We will also ensure that illegal traders and hoodlums do not have a place in the markets. We have cleared the parking lots that have been taken over by illegal traders,” he said.

Also speaking the secretary of Bwari area council, Kadanya Peter, explained that the cleaning exercise started last week following a visit to the market by the FCT minister, Malam Muhammad Bello, who expressed worry over the poor sanitary state of the market, and ordered for a cleanup exercise.

He revealed that the occupants of the illegal structures and attachments were given five days quit notice before the commencement of the removal exercise.

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